Breakthrough or breakdown? part 2

Posted on September 1, 2008

My counselor took notes on what I was saying and made a copy for me. She says this is what we really need to work on. It is as if the chemical part of the depression and anxiety is more or less stabilized so now the rest of what I keep locked inside can finally come out. (February 22, 2008)

I did not want to deal with this. I have done everything possible to avoid it, and the fantastic reaction I had to the buspirone helped me to keep it away for a bit longer. But even the buspirone cannot keep away what I have kept locked up all these years.

I had to go back through my early posts just to see how much–or how little–I admitted when I started this blog. It wasn’t much. In my ‘who am I‘ post, I said I had been diagnosed with PTSD and that The PTSD probably has something to do with being raised in a violent home.

That seems normal, that with all of the raging emotions I had at the time, I could not say any more. But now that medication has stabilized whatever chemical issues my brain has, some wordless intelligence seems to have decided that now is the time to drag out the rest of my issues. I can’t even say it now, it is so incredibly hard. But I know that I must. Admitting it is always the first step, is it not?

But I’d rather procrastinate.

Okay, that occupied me for nearly an hour.

The truth is, I am a survivor of child abuse and sexual assault.

My history has been documented going back to my toddler years. Child Protective Services was at my house more than once. My grandmother and a cousin both tried unsuccessfully to gain custody of me when I was about seven, to get me out of that house. There are court and medical records. But until I married and put some distance between my parents and myself, I had little memory of my childhood.
It has been hard for me as welll as for my doctors and psychiatrists and counselors to know what of my depression and anxiety is purely chemical and what is caused by the abuse. I have been reading some studies that show links between child abuse and permanent brain changes, including depression in adulthood.

Both depression and anxiety, as well as repressed memory, dissociation, insomnia, flashbacks, and nightmares (all of which I’ve had) go hand in hand with post traumatic stress disorder, a common result of trauma. But there is also a history of major depression in my family. My caregivers say it would not be unusual to have both.

Lately I have been having flashbacks and nightmares again, as well as spikes in my anxiety level that aren’t controlled by the buspirone. I have been spacey and detached from my body (dissociating). I had to go to an event in public Friday afternoon and I watched myself interact with others, hearing words coming out of my mouth, but I felt I had no control over what I was saying. That was okay. The words coming out of my mouth were far more confident and coherent than anything I could have otherwise thought of.

So I do not know if this is a breakthrough. It feels like a breakdown. Perhaps it is both.


  1. seller

    very good post

  2. Anonymous

    I am in the same position as you, and it gives me great strength to read of someone else fighting the same battle, and feeling the same emotions.

    I was once told that you save yourself or you remain unsaved.

    We are survivors, and we have the strength, dignity and self worth to know we deserve better.

    I wish you a happy and content future and send you positive energy to get through this.


  3. Rivka

    anonymous: thank you so much. I do not feel the confidence you have expressed but perhaps you can hold it for me for now. I never heard that Churchill quote; it made me smile.

    MiI: thank you. Understanding I am not alone in my journey helps.

    EK: I was very afraid to post; I was afraid people would be angry I had not disclosed this earlier, or they would think I am just looking for attention (that is what my mother used to say). I can honestly use the prayers right now. Thank you.

    Leora: Yes, they are much to fear right now. I am scheduled to see my counselor only once every two weeks but once she knows what is going on perhaps she will want to see me more often. I will have to see what her schedule can offer.

  4. Leora

    Perhaps you are just fearing a breakdown, but perhaps, if you can spend a lot of time (for now) with your therapist, it can be a breakthrough, and you can start to heal some of those horrible childhood feelings. Not that they will go away, but perhaps you can find a place for them and not fear them so.

    Hang in there, and take care.

  5. Anonymous

    All of my thoughts and prayers are directed at you . . .

  6. mother in israel

    Wishing you the best on this journey.

  7. Anonymous

    Dealing with past trauma is excruciating…
    I wish you much hatzlacha and strenghth as you work it all out. May you find the power inside of you to get it all out into the open and worked through, and may you come through to the other side whole and stronger and closer to yourself and your family and G-d…

    As Winston Churchill famously said, “If you find yourself going through hell, keep going.”

    You’ll get through this.

    Be well

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